Life’s Milestones

Candle

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Life is made up of milestones.

Certain birthdays are celebrated because they grant us the privileges of driving, voting, and drinking.

Milestone events can herald the accomplishments of completing education, attaining military rank, receiving job promotions or starting businesses… and uniting in marriage.

Marriage comes with its own set of milestones which includes yearly anniversaries, purchasing homes and becoming parents.

For some, marriages don’t always work out and they face the milestones of separation or divorce—not uncommon events, unfortunately.

The rest continue on in marriage for years… even decades, but those marriages have to end too… with the loss of a spouse.

Both sets of my grandparents were married for over fifty years, as were my in-laws. My own parents were married for forty-five years before my father’s death.

I only got 35 years, 8 months, 13 days, and 4 hours before I lost my husband.

I am not ungrateful. I know many saw their love stories end far sooner.

I wasn’t married to reach milestones or set records.

I was just happy to have a life with a man who understood me, knew all of my quirks and many flaws… and loved me, anyway.

Losing a spouse doesn’t signal the end of milestones. They may even multiply them.

I started by counting the hours and progressed on to days.

Den died on a Thursday, so it is a day I have come to loathe. I don’t have to look at a calendar to know it’s Thursday. My heart knows. I wake up every Thursday angry. But that anger is heavy and destructive. I blamed him for leaving me. I blamed the kidney disease that plagued him for years. I blamed his doctors and the dialysis center. No one was above reproach.

Including me.

Did I feed him healthy meals and made sure he got enough rest? Did I make sure he took all his meds on time? Did I miss anything? Why didn’t I fight harder and insist he keep the Urgent Care appointment I made for him the day before he died instead of giving in and canceling it as he asked? It could have saved him. And me.

And maybe it wouldn’t have. Eight hospitalizations over three years for the same issues were stacking the deck against us. Until that fateful Wednesday when everything changed, Den’s biggest complaint had always—and only—been fatigue. Now I realize I didn’t know just how tired he truly was.

Our last conversation was him asking me for a pain pill and water. This made me uneasy because Den never took the prescribed pain meds. Then he said he’d nap a bit before getting ready for dialysis and insisted I go to bed too. I balked at that and we fussed for a few minutes before he said, “Babe, please.”

I gave in and went to sleep only to wake four and a half hours later and find him gone.

Now I’m alone meeting milestones I wasn’t ready for.

Today marks two months since Den died. I tell people I’m okay… but I’m not. How can I be when the dynamics of my entire life have changed? How could anyone be all right after that?

People have been so kind to me but some, with their tired expressions of Time heals all wounds, It will get better in time, and the horrid Just think positive make my blood pressure rise.

Don’t ever, ever say these things to someone who’s lost a loved one regardless of if it’s a spouse, child, parent or family pet.

I’ve apologized in my mind a thousand times for any time I’ve ever said these things to anyone. I never knew how generic, inane, and outright stupid they are until I was on the receiving end of them.

Loss induces grief and we must grieve. We cannot think or wish it away. It’s a process we have to go through. Some people will take longer than others. There is no set time limit.

I have to say that again.

There is no set time limit for mourning a loss.

If anyone says anything like, “You should be over it by now,” remove them from the front row of your life. You are not accountable to them or their timetable.

Find peace and comfort in your memories and the things you loved and shared, especially your children. Though miles separate us, our three adult children have been my biggest source of strength and support since losing Den. Having them has helped keep me grounded because I’ll always be a mom.

I’ve also found comfort in browsing poetry and life sites. Many of the quotes, memes, and inspirational messages speak to my mind and emotions.

But, finding the poem I’ve posted below was like a gut punch not just because it spoke directly to my heart… but because it sounds exactly like something my pragmatic husband would say.

We watched the movie, Titanic, together many times. Without fail, near the end when Rose tells Jack she’ll “never let go,” Den would smirk and say something like, “I’ll take Causes of Mental Instability for $500, Alex.” (He was quite a character!)

We’d banter back and forth each time as I tried to explain the depth of Jack’s love for Rose was so great, he was willing to sacrifice himself so she lived. He’d come back with, “Exactly. The man is giving up his life so she can have one… and that’s exactly what she’s supposed to do. Live.”

I hated it when he was right.

The movies make it all seem so simple. Real life… not so much.

I know I have to let Den go. One day. But not now. I’m not there yet.

It’s another of life’s milestones I’m working toward.

~~~

Miss Me But Let Me Go

~~~

(I wish I knew the author of this beautiful, simple poem. I’d love to give them a big hug.)

Image from Pinterest

Song Lyric Sunday | “Everchanging Times” – Siedah Garrett

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “Songs from movies.”

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Singer/songwriter Siedah Garrett has written songs and performed background vocals for some of the biggest names in music. She scored hits duets with Dennis Edwards in 1984, Don’t Look Any Further, and Michael Jackson, I Just Can’t Stop Loving You in 1987.

But it was as a solo artist Siedah sang Everchanging Times, the theme song from 1987’s Baby Boom, starring Diane Keaton. The song peaked at #30 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1987.

Everchanging Times is a great song about a woman trying to deal with the fast-paced changes of life, determined to not sacrifice love. Though it’s from an 80s movie, the song is timeless and its theme still quite relevant today.

FUN FACTS:

  • Garrett has been nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Original Song, and won the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 50th Grammy Awards for co-writing Love You I Do (performed by Jennifer Hudson) for the 2006 musical film, Dreamgirls.
  • Thinking she was simply answering a call to only appear as a background vocalist on I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, Siedah initially felt intimidated with excitement when she entered the recording booth and noticed two music stands with sheet music that had lyric parts labeled “Michael” and “Siedah”.
  • Siedah co-wrote Michael Jackson’s #1 hit, Man in Mirror. In a 2013 interview she said, “I needed to send it through Quincy {Jones} because if Quincy didn’t like it there was no way that Michael would ever hear it. It was a huge privilege for me when Quincy decided that the song was good enough to play for Michael.”

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for Nesie’s Place!

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Everchanging Times

#SaturdayThoughts “Reflection”

Next week will be two months since I lost Den, and the last ten days have been the worst since the day my life changed forever.

Insomnia, memory lapses, indecision, and the mother of all Fibromyalgia flare-ups only serve to exacerbate my grief and leave me unable to move forward… or at all.

There are bright spots when my sons pop up giving me a reason to laugh… and cook, or my daughter calls from the midwest and I remember how blessed I am to be a mom.

But they have lives and their own grief to work through, and as much as I love having them home, I don’t need or want a babysitter.

Not that they haven’t tried, bless their hearts. Their love and support mean everything, but this part of the journey–transitioning from wife to widow–I have to do alone.

So far, I suck at it. Den would not be pleased. He said I was the most stubborn woman on the planet and I bull-dozed obstacles out of my way. Actually, he called me cantankerous.

Who uses that word in the 21st Century?

My late husband, Lord of the Geeks.

So, I must do better.

I have to stop fighting the grief. I must allow the pain to wash over and through me. It will never be washed away, but enough will be spent so the love we shared can fill me and lift me up and help me to move on.

Just as it did for the last thirty-five years.

~~~

Rose Kennedy

~~~

Image from Pinterest

 

 

 

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